Wednesday 31 January 2024

A weekend away and some sewing

John and I try to get some time away at least every other month. It's not that we don't like being at home, we do. It's just that sometimes you need your space as a couple. We have son and younger daughter living with us plus Missy and now Wesley, the cat. It's fun but sometimes we want to slow down and be able to enjoy being us. Last weekend was our first trip of the year and we went to Worcester. Worcester is a cathedral city in the heart of the West Midlands on the banks of the River Severn The weather was cold but sunny and we had a pleasant drive. We stopped at the services on the motorway to pick up coffee and whilst we  enjoyed our drink we watched the little penny wagtails picking up crumbs in the car park. Once we had settled into our hotel we had a brief wander around the city centre. We had no plans for the evening other than a good meal and chill out time. Relaxing was important as it has been busy at work and stressful at home looking after Wesley and nursing him back to health.

On Saturday we set out to walk along the Worcester and Birmingham canal  and then follow the River Severn. There were a few ducks on the canal.

In the marina we found a variety of traditional narrow boats.

We passed the locks. I love watching the boats going up or down in the locks but on Saturday morning there were no boats travelling along the canal.

The canal joined the River Severn and we followed the river for quite a distance but the ground got more and more boggy where it had been flooded so we turned round and returned to the city.  We decided to have coffee and then have a look round the city centre. Some of the streets are narrow and the building are old. We went back in the evening to get pictures as the streets were very crowded earlier.

Having explored the shops we headed to the Cathedral.  I had fun trying to get a photo of the tower.

The entrance into the cathedral was very decorative.

This view is looking towards the altar.

The altar was very ornate but beautiful.

I love looking at the floor tiles as sometimes they give me ideas for quilt patterns.

I particularly likes these tiles.

This tapestry was one of the few pieces of textiles that I found as we looked round.

Meanwhile the ceiling was beautiful.

After we had explored all the Cathedral we walked to the main bridge in Worcester so we could get a photo of the cathedral. We saw the spire of a ruined church.

The were a lot of mute swans on the river.

There was also a good view of the outside of the Cathedral.

We went on another walk on Sunday but I'll tell you about that tomorrow,

This evening when I got home I had some time to myself and I enjoyed some sewing time. I started by sewing the pinwheel blocks together into a quilt top.

I'm not adding borders to this quilt top . I need to make the quilt sandwich and I already have the backing fabric for this quilt. I love these cute teddy bears

I also started a mystery quilt . It uses 9 fat quarters and I just happened to have several fat quarters that I needed to use up.

You have to cut 16, 4 and a half inch squares from each fat quarter and then sort them into a set order . These are the fabrics I'm using.

I made a start this evening and this is what I achieved.

I'm working tomorrow so I need to go to bed. I plan on getting home early so I can do some more sewing. I'll also finish off our trip to Worcester as well.

Take care


Monday 22 January 2024

White Rabbits



Today is the start of the White Rabbit blog hop and my day to share what I've made. My thanks go to Carol from Just Let me Quilt for organising the hop. The challenge was to create something with rabbits or something white. 

Rabbits are very pretty and generally gentle creatures. When my children were small they had rabbits as pets. We had a variety of colours but we never had an all white rabbit. Here in the UK there is a well known saying that is said on the first day of the month, 'pinch, punch for the first of the month, white rabbits.' So long as you have said white rabbits no one can pinch or punch you back. If you do this before midday it will bring you good luck for the month. It is said to come from medieval times when people believed in witches. My uncle was a rear gunner in a Lancaster bomber during world war II. He told me he always said white rabbits for luck before setting out on a raid. Good luck is always helpful so I'll continue to say white rabbits.

My project for this hop was to make a baby quilt. The wife of one of my colleagues is pregnant with their second child so a quilt was needed. In making the quilt it needed to suit a boy or a girl as they aren't revealing the gender. 

I like to make scrappy quilts and I have a lot of scraps at present so I started by scouring my 2.5 inch boxes to make 9 patch blocks. I managed to find a good variety to use.

Several of the 9 patches had rabbits on them, although they aren't white.

Next I added some solid blocks in between and a panel with two rabbits (or they could be hares). I've used this panel pattern before and I got it from The Bramble Patch. The rabbits had to be white to fit the theme.

I kept the quilting very simple using straight line quilting on the blocks and outlining the flowers and rabbits. I have attached the binding but still need to stitch it down to the back. That will be done next week so long as I've finished my embroidery project that I want to get finished this month. The baby isn't due until March so there is no rush.

I hope you have enjoyed seeing my project. Now you need to hop over to the other blogs sharing today. Here is a full list of participants. I can't wait to see what people have made.

January 22


Take care


Sunday 21 January 2024

Slow stitching Sunday.

Over the past week my slow stitching has been knitting. The wool comes as skeins and I set myself the challenge of knitting up 1 skein. I finished that on Thursday so I need to put my knitting down for a week and get on with my embroidery. I have challenged myself to finish the countryside scene with the poppies by the end of the month. That means I have ten days left. It is doable so long as I get on with it. So lets look how far I've got and what is left to do.

I picked this piece up on Thursday evening but didn't add much to it as I was tired. Friday evening I should have done some sewing but took Missy for a late walk and then gave her a good grooming. As you can see I've started on the wheat field but haven't got very far.

Here is the picture of the finished piece from the pattern.

I still have some evening left so I need to get on with my stitching. I'm linking this post with Kathy from Kathy's Quilts for her Slow Sunday Stitching linky party.

Take care


Saturday 20 January 2024

A visit, sewing and a cat.

The week has been so busy with one thing and another that I didn't have any energy to write a blog post. It has been a funny old week, with temperatures well below the seasonal norm. It meant I've had to defrost the car every morning which means I need to get up slightly earlier. When I went into the office on Monday it was really cold and the first job of the morning was to call facilities to get them to increase the heating. 

On Saturday, John and I went on a coach trip to Slimbridge. It was organised by the central London local branch of the RSPB. We had visited Slimbridge in early December but it is always a good place to visit for a whole range of birds. I enjoyed being driven for a change, since usually I do all the driving. We arrived at 11 am and we had to meet back at the coach at 4 so we had loads of time to walk all round the reserve and spend time watching bird. They also have a good cafe that serves tasty hot food. Normally when we visit we spend time in the  hides by the estuary so this time we decided we would walk all round the reserve to see what was going on.

The flamingos were all inside to keep them warm. They were an amazing colour. Unfortunately taking a photo through glass is a pain as you get the reflection

There were also several crane around. They have been running a successful crane breeding programme. These two were chilling out by the fence but there were several more hanging out on the pasture by the estuary.

This lot looked a little cold. I was cold and I had several layers on as well as my thick hat and gloves.

I also loved the colour of the branches .

There were large clumps of snowdrops.

I took this photo from the heated hide. It is always a pleasure to be able to sit and watch birds in the warm. Over the day we saw about 20 Berwick swans, but these ones spent most of the time with their head under water. They over winter in Britain but numbers have been dropping in recent years with the climate change.

Way over the back of the next photo was a flock of curlew but we could only see them through John's scope and I didn't have the camera attachment.

We enjoyed leek and potato soup for lunch and just before leaving we revisited the cafe for tea and cake. You have to look after yourself on an expedition! We enjoyed our day, saw lots of birds and the journey was comfortable. We have another birdwatching trip arranged for February.

On Sunday I did some work on my project for the white rabbit blog hop. I'm pleased with how this is going. My day is Monday. Over the week I have been doing some knitting. This has been my slow stitching for the week. At first I had problems working out the chart for the pattern but once I understood it I found it knits up quite quickly.

Today I sewed the pinwheel blocks together in groups of 4. I took extra time to try and get the points right and I'm happy with the result. Not all the points are perfect but I did the best I could.

I also made some 4 patch blocks. Tomorrow I'm hoping to put this quilt top together if I have enough fabric for the sashing. I forgot to check supplies before the shop shut.

Finally the cat. As those of you who follow my blog know, our cat Picasso died in 2022 at  the age of 20. We decided not to get another cat at that time. Fast forward to Thursday evening and my son rescued an injured and stray cat. He took him to our vert for emergency treatment of a burn to his mouth and tongue. His face was very swollen and sore. He then bought him home to look after. By this morning he had a name and he has responded well to the antibiotics and pain relief. He is now eating and drinking and looking a little better. If no one claims him I think he will probably join the family. The vet says he is roughly a year old. He and Missy have met and not hissed, scratched or killed each other. We are keeping them apart as far as possible at the moment to avoid any cross infection. I'll let you know how he gets on and post a picture once his face looks a little better.

If the weather is bad where you are, please take care and stay safe.


Friday 12 January 2024

9 patch and pin wheels

It's Friday and this is my free day. When I say free day I mean I'm not at work since I work four days a week. I turned the alarm off when it rang at 6 a.m. and went back to sleep until 7. I love taking my morning tea back to bed on my day off and being able to read a chapter (or so) of my book. Last year I read 25 books, so this year I've set a target of 30. I started the second book of the year this morning. After a few pages I decided I needed to get a move on as I had some housework to do and I wanted to do some sewing. Having finished the various chores John and I decided to fit our walk in before lunch. The weather here is cold but dry, plus the sun was shining so it was pleasant weather for a walk. We also saw several birds including a green woodpecker, redwings, starlings, a jay, greenfinches, blue tits, parakeets, magpies, crows, a robin and a lot of town pigeons. Back at home again I set up my sewing machine. I wanted to get the rest of the pin wheels made and I had some nine patches I wanted to make. I now have 26 pinwheels.

Some have already been trimmed but the rest will get trimmed on Sunday. The pin wheels are  for number 6 off my year to do list. No 6 is this months number for the Chookshed Stitchers Challenge. I'm linking this post with the Mid month check in..

I also made 13 nine patch blocks. I want these for another project and I'm enjoying using up a lot of scraps

Whilst I was sewing Missy decided she needed to help and she jumped on my lap. The last time I had my machine out she did this. I think she is a little jealous of the machine, since I like spending time with it. I got John to take a photo. 

She didn't stay around for long, and was soon asleep on her mat.  Later in the afternoon John did some DIY and so having made my blocks I packed my machine away. While John was busy I found some left over yarn and practised the pattern for the cardigan I'm knitting. The chart made no sense to me at first but I soon worked it out. Now I can start work on the lace pattern. 

This evening Lucy finished off her crocheted rabbit. I bought the kit for her some time ago. She had never done any crochet before but fancied  having a go.  She has done really well to teach herself how to do it and how to follow the pattern and create this really cute rabbit.

She is currently finishing a blanket she's making and will then be creating an octopus.

Tomorrow John and I are going on a coach trip to Slimbridge. We have to be up early as it is quite a long drive but I'm good at sleeping on coaches. We last visited Slimbridge in early December but many of the migrant birds that usually visit, hadn't arrived. Hopefully there will be lots of birds to see. Anyway there will be no sewing tomorrow but I will probably take some embroidery with me. There is a nice heated hide or the cafe if I get too cold and I can spend some time stitching. We have nothing booked for Sunday so I'm hoping to get some more sewing time.

Take care


Sunday 7 January 2024

Slow Sunday Stitching

Sundays are supposed to be relaxing or so I'm told. Today I feel as if I've spent my morning rushing around and now I need to relax and recharge. We woke up this morning to bright sunshine and a beautiful blue sky. Such a change from recent days which have been dark and very wet. The rain has been very persistent and there has been a lot of flooding across the country. My brother, who lives on a canal boat was telling me the marina was flooded. The boat is moored on a floating pontoon but the water rose so much that the pontoon came off the top of the poles holding it in place. He had a couple of sleepless nights earlier in the week due to the heavy rain and flooding. As it was sunny John and I took our selves for a brisk walk. It was cold but delightful to be outside and dry! 

I had been making pinwheels for the donation quilt I've started and I wanted to set up the next stage. Before I started making the pinwheels I'd had to remind myself how to make them. What I came across was a different approach to making them. I am using a charm pack so first up you put two charm pieces right sides together and then sew all the way round the outside with 1/4 inch seam.

Next you cut across both diagonals.

and then press open ready to sew into the pin wheel. I've got 20 sets ready to sew into blocks and I've already made 6.

These are waiting for the next time I get the sewing machine out which will be later in the week.

Earlier this week I was continuing my sorting and decluttering. I was going through a box from the loft and I came across this embroidery piece. I had spent ages looking for it and eventually decided I must have left it somewhere. In reality it had got in amongst a lot of paperwork and was stored in the loft. When I was working on this piece we still had Scamp and he walked across it with muddy paws but they are on the fabric solvy which will be washed off once the embroidery is complete, plus the fabric and thread is washable. Last evening I put in quite a few stitches and my plan is to do some more tonight. 

In between doing some cooking and other jobs I also did a few more rows of knitting. I haven't done any knitting for over a year and I'm going to take this slowly as the last time I knitted I made my right arm very painful. The wool is so soft to the touch and I love the colour.

I'm linking this post with Kathy from Kathy's Quilts for her Slow Sunday Stitching I'm looking forward to finding out what everyone is making.

Take care